Aurora Borealis By Stones

May 24, 2016:

Zee and May work with the five coloured jade stones. May has to work out what is happening.

Shadowcrest Manor - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Fenris

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Zee knows that May has a busy schedule. The woman actually has a job and it's an important one. Between the two of them, they've eked out some time to investigate the five coloured jade stones and why they respond to The Cavalry's presence.

The pair are in Zee's workroom - not somewhere she invites many people. There's workbench against one wall, which is rather tidy given the paraphenalia on it - candles, bits and bobs, a few handwritten journals, even jewellery making tools. Along another wall are a series of cabinets filled with jars and containers … likely ingredients for various workings.

Of course, like all good magic workrooms, there's a circle set into the stone floor. The circle is made of some form of metal - likely an alloy and covered with runes all the way round it.

Right now, in the middle of the circle is a small wooden box that is inscribed with nordic runes and the lid of the box is open, displaying the five coloured stones. "Walker and Jes are looking into spells and rituals that may help us with this problem, May. You and I need to work out how and why these stones interact with you, it will help me in creating … whatever it is we need. You said the other night, that the stones 'called' to you? Let's start there, tell me how or what you felt."


Standing outside the cirle and openly staring at the stones, May nods to Zee. This could be… interesting, considering how non-talkative she typically is. Crossing her arms, she's quiet for a moment. "Have you ever walked into a store, and while idly browsing the merchandise, one item in particular keeps drawing your attention back to it?" She considers for a moment longer. "It's like that, mixed with … the closest I can come up with is the feeling of missing a loved one."


"Yeah, I have…" Zee responds to May. She knows talking isn't something the SHIELD Agent appears to like to do and she's prepared for that, but still some words are going to be needed.

"You'd be surprised the number of magical artefacts that 'call' to me in similar manner. Although, I haven't really had the feeling of missing a loved one."

Which makes her peer more intently at May and gesture towards the stones, encouraging the woman to step closer "They won't hurt you, of that I'm sure. I think you're the only one that will be able to control them." May can can feel them, pulsing, and as she draws near the call gets stronger. "I know for myself, some things are instinctually - what does your instinct tell you to do."


What is May's gut saying? Two opposing things at the same time. The first, longer-lived, and louder of the two says 'this is unnatural, get the hell away now' while the other lures her closer, almost like a siren song. Knowing that Zee is here and makes a really good safety net, she listens to the second impression and steps closer. The hesitation at the edge of the circle inlaid into the floor is noticeable but brief. As she moves closer, she also settles to the floor in front of the wooden box.


The stones which were relatively quiet, 'speed up' as May approaches, warping spacetime around them. May can begin to see the effects of that and Zee can also hear them buzzing. That the young mage hasn't cautioned May away is a good thing - things are still safe.

As May sits, the stones vibrate in the box and she can feel them reaching out her, almost asking her to 'command' them.


The … eagerness to be commanded, May likens it to a puppy dog learning new commands and just being so EXCITED to do as their human bids. So, she starts simple, shushing the stones gently to see if they'll stop causing the weird spacetime warp going on around them.


They settle a little, but not much. May will get the feeling that they simply can't 'stop'. "They're building a mana charge, May. It's nothing to worry about, but they are certainly responding to your presence." Zee murmurs "They don't respond to me like that. I'm not sensing a thing past that, what are you getting?"

May might know that some children, with an abundance of energy, just need to have their energy directed.


"They're … ADHD." May tries to think of something for the stones to do that's harmless and will direct their energy. The only thing that comes to mind is 'Fantasia'. So she asks the stones to start creating a light show akin to an aurora boreais above their little resting box.


The stones respond, levitating out of the box a little and starting to emit a light show. It's not the Aurora Borealis, but they're trying and they are, afterall, five coloured jade stones.

Of more importance though, is that a 'crack' starts appearing behind … with the mana build up, spacetime is warping and May is getting glances of an ancient time where a Chinese woman with a dragons tail for legs is working over a forge.


Melinda May encourages the stones to maintain their current little light show as she tries to get a better look at the woman working over a forge. While the dragone's tail aspect is interesting, she's also trying to get a better look at the woman's surroundings.


The stones respond and the light show continues, but time and space starts to warp around them. The crack seems to be getting bigger and May can feel it starting to tug at her. What she sees starts to blur, with images from different ages being overlaid on top of each other. Before that happens though, the only real impression May gets from the womans working is that she seems to have five coloured jade stones laid out next to the forge and the sky is a firey mess.

Does May remember the tale of Nu-wa?

"Uh, May." Zee speaks quietly behind the SHIELD agent "It really isn't a good idea to let that happen. Can you tell the stones to settle?"


Blinking a couple of time, May looks up at Zee then nods. She concentrates on the stones, urging them to close the glimpse into the other times and put more of their efforts into the harmelss aurora borealis. Settle, children. We'll do more again later.


The stones vibrate in the air, glowing brighter still, it's quite a display and the crack starts to close, but slowly. May can feel it, that portal. Feel it waxing and waning, almost tugging on her will. Maybe the SHIELD agent could try something a little more direct.

"It's closing May, but I can't quite get a handle on it, it seems to be keyed to you and the stones…" Regardless, the young mages eyes glow and blue energy starts to dance around her hands. "I can try to close it, but it might harm the stones. I'd prefer that not occur."


"Let me try, then." Rather than ask the stones to close the portal, May mentally pictures the portal closing like a laceration healing at a very accelerated pace. Like, say, Logan-speed. She bids the stones to lend her their energy to apply her mental image to the portal, and really hopes that this works. She doesn't know the first thing about actually wielding magic.


Magic can be funny like that. Zee knows. It's a mix of intent, power, skill and knowledge. Even the most powerful of mages can struggle with a spell if their intent is not set. And the weakest of mages can perform amazing feats when they put their will behind things.

May might have picked up on that by watching Zee or maybe … it's instinctual. With the power of her will behind the vision the mana charge the stones have built up flow through her pendulum and her, causing the crack to close. Not quickly, but quickly enough. Just a little bit longer is needed.


May keeps that mental image of the portal closing in her mind until the actual thing closes completely, even though it feels like her pendulum under her shirt is trying to burn through her skin. Now stay closed.


The pendulum isn't really trying to burn her, it just feels that way. The portal closes and the stones start to settle, still giving off that amazing light show "That's better, May. The stones are more stable, although the warping can still be seen around them.

"Can you get them back into the box?" Zee speaks quietly, standing by, prepared to step in and … do something if needed. Though it doesn't seem like it necessary.

At that moment, there's a knock on the door and Richard comes in with a tray of tea. Fortuitous? or does the man know the Mistress of Magic? "Just on the workbench, thank you, Mr Fitzgerald."


Melinda May takes a breath, then looks at the stones now that the portal is gone. Time to take a nap, children. Lay down now. She watches the stones settle back into the box and closes the lid before leaning back a bit. "Is it normal for my head to hurt?" And she's unconsciously rubbing at her pendulum still under her shirt.


Stepping into the circle, Zee closes the box and picks it up, looking consideringly between May and the box. "Your head hurts? I can't say that I've experienced that, but maybe… you channeled the magic the stones had built up, I would be surprised if something didn't hurt."

Richard lays out the teapot and mugs and leaves the women in peace.

"Tea?" Zee gestures, not offering to help the SHIELD agent get up - something tells her that wouldn't be appreciated. "So… tell me what you think."


Melinda May stays seated on the floor for a few moments. "I think … that woman in the portal reminded me of a tale my grandmother used to tell." She moves to stand finally, exhibiting the kind of stiffness that usually only bothers her after injuries. Though with increasing frequency of late. Which is disturbing. "Tea does sound good."


Placing the box on the workbench, Zee pours tea, taking her time and mulling things over. "What tale is that, May?" Turning to look at the SHIELD agent as the tea steeps, the raven haired woman gives a slight shake of her head "I meant more about the stones and how they respond to you. What are your … instincts telling you?"


Melinda May steps over toward the workbench. "The way they're reacting is related to that tale. Something about cutting the legs off of a turtle and setting them as pillars to hold up the sky." She shakes her head slightly, making it clear that she has always considered the tale a story and nothing more.


Zee nods slowly "A chinese creation myth, I believe. The story of Nu Wa. I don't think it was coincidence that she sent the little mushu's to find you." Handing a mug of tea over to May "Those stones are related. Do you remember the rest of the tale?"

It's perplexing and something they'll need to work out. But what Zee knows is that May is key to this conundrum.


Melinda May accepts the tea and takes a sip. "Not offhand, no. It's been … a long time." And yes, she's amused that Zee called the little dragons by the name of the character from that one Disney movie. That's exactly what they are. "But it's not exactly a secret or only verbal tradition. There are written records that have survived and I'm sure they've been translated."


"Indeed…" Zee agrees, sipping her own tea. "The Huainanzi that Walker pulled from the shelves the other day, outline that story. I'm sure the book that you took gives something of the story as well. Nu-Wa smelted those stones to repair a tear in the sky. Which isn't what we, well you, have to do … but still, it's all related somehow."

"Jes and Walker are looking are more legends, trying to find information for a ritual or spell. What I'm interested in, is why … do the stones respond to only you. Fenris doesn't think it's bloodline and I tend to agree."

Seeing May rubbing her pendulum, the mage cants her head "Is your pendulum causing you discomfit?"


"Oh." May promptly stops that, though she does pull the pendulum to sit on top of her shirt instead of under it. "Not anymore." She considers for a moment. "If it's not bloodline, then why pick me? Because I have a pendulum, and I kind of vaguely remember the story from when I was a kid?"


Zee considers for the moment and shakes her "Do you remember when Fenris first gave us the pendulums? What he said about those who wielded them for a time?" she's thoughtful, like she's trying to work something through. "I know that story, May. Dad made sure I did, and I have a pendulum, and the stones don't respond to me."

"If I'm right though, those stones sent their magic charge through to you when you tried to close the portal?"


Melinda May nods. "They did. I asked them to." Kind of? She's not really sure how to describe the way she was directing them. After all, how many kinds of insane would it sound if she described them as energetic children?


No more insane that speaking to a hyperactive Mushu and asking it to lead the way to the trouble. Or at least, that's what Zee thinks. Zee's world might be just a little strange though. "Yeah, that makes sense." She sighs and considers May again.

"Well, I'm not sure we're going to get more answers today. We know they respond to you and you seem to be able to command them. That's going to be important going forward." Frowning a little "You said your Grandmother used to tell that story? Is there anyone in your family that might have more information?"


Melinda May considers. "Possibly. I have a jiù ma — an aunt — that still lives in Beijing. But I've not spoken with any extended family in decades." At least. Even her own parents are only seen occasionally.


"Well, if you do, it might be worth making enquiries. Walker and Jes are likely to find information, but you're family or contacts might have insight as well."

Sipping her tea, Zee looks back to the box "You're welcome to visit and work with these stones as often as you like. I would prefer, for the time being, that they stay here. With HYDRA looking for them, this is one of the safest places we have." Glancing up to May with a slight shrug "Do you have any questions, May?"


"I'll ask." May's owed her mother a phone call for a while now, so it's as good an excuse as any. When Zee mentions keeping the stones here, she only nods. She completely understands keeping them secure and is not about to argue that. Also… she would worry about being tempted to experiment. Better to avoid that possibility.


"Alright then. Shall we retire to the library and relax while we finish our tea? I'm sure you've got places to be and I've some research to do." That and track down some vampires and maybe some demons too.

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